AOP is saddened to announce the passing of Dolores M. Koch, co-librettist for Jorge Martín’s opera Before Night Falls. Dr. Koch was a close personal friend of the opera’s subject, poet Reinaldo Arenas, and was an important bridge to his story as the opera developed.
Martín lamented that he was “so sorry Dolores did not get to see the premiere of BNF. … She was a living link to Reinaldo Arenas, and shared with him, I think, a greatness of spirit.”
AOP Executive Director Charles Jarden remarked, “AOP’s contact with Dolores was limited to a few visits during the pre-production time of the BNF workshops, but it was easy to feel her profound integrity and dignity.”
Obituary: Dolores M. Koch, PhD. June 11, 2009
Dolores Mercedes Koch, PhD, known as Lolita to friends and family, died at home on June 11, 2009. Lolita was an innovative scholar, translator, editor, reviewer and teacher, and she worked right until the end of her life. A widely published scholar of Latin American literature, she was, in 1981, the first to write analytically about the microrrelato (very short allusive stories particularly popular in Latin America), an emerging literary genre. Her most recent work was as guest editor of The Hostos Review #6, that particular issue of the journal being devoted to the microrrelato.
Lolita translated novels, memoirs, stories and other writings from Spanish to English, including works by Laura Restrepo, Jorge Bucay, Alina Fernanez and Emilie Schindler. Most meaningful to her was translating some of the works of Reinaldo Arenas, Cuban writer and friend, particularly his memoirs, “Before Night Falls.” This book was made into a movie of the same name and Javier Bardem, playing the role of Reinaldo, received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Her most recent translation, “The Book of God and Physics,” by Enrique Joven, was published with favorable reviews just weeks before she died.
A talented teacher and mentor, Lolita formed lifetime bonds with students, colleagues and writers. Her academic career was notable also because she reentered college and went on to earn a doctorate in 1986 at age 57 after her children had completed their educations.
Dolores Mercedes Gonzalez was born in La Habana, Cuba, in 1928, and married her classmate Gerardo R. Koch in 1949. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on June 4. The couple and their children immigrated to New York City in 1961. Her daughter Gloria Koch Gonzalez lives in San Francisco and manages Golden Gate Park. Her son Jerry Koch-Gonzalez lives in Amherst, MA, and is a consultant and teaches Nonviolent Communication and Dynamic Self-Governance. Her oldest granddaughter Julia Koch just finished her first year towards a doctorate in Positive Psychology. Lolita will be missed by her husband, her family, friends, and many close collaborators and colleagues. We will remember her incisive intellect, her kindness, her ever searching mind, the Impatiens she grew, her smile and so many “magic moments.”